Shane Simpson is headed to Charlottesville.
The decision will cap a whirlwind stretch for the 5’11, 205-pounder — he entered the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday after the Colonial Athletic Association announced that it will not play football this fall. Simpson quickly narrowed his list to two after receiving interest from programs like Duke, Florida State, Northwestern, Penn State, Texas, and Wake Forest.
A sixth-year senior who only played three games in 2019, Simpson’s appeal is not just his experience, its his versatility. During a consensus All-American season in 2018, Simpson went over 2,000 all-purpose yards, scoring 12 total touchdowns while racking up 711 rushing yards, 356 receiving yards, 887 kick return yards. and 104 punt return yards.
But while the Longhorns currently boast three experienced running backs, along with No. 1 recruit Bijan Robinson, the Cavaliers desperately needed help at the position. Quarterback Bryce Perkins led the team in rushing last season, but he graduated, leaving junior Wayne Taulapappa as the leading returning rusher. Taulapappa gained 473 yards and scored 12 touchdowns last season. None of the other running backs had more than 32 carries in 2019.
So the opportunity for more significant playing time at Virginia than Texas likely factored into Simpson’s decision to pick the Cavaliers.
Head coach Tom Herman has two available scholarships and also remains in pursuit of Arizona graduate transfer linebacker Tony Fields II.